June 3, 2008
Sorry don't know any good running stores in the Bay area. A good running store is VERY MUCH like a good ski shop fitting you with ski boots. They should look at your bare foot, checking for foot shape, bunions (pressure points), ask about any pronation problems and ask questions about your mileage, training program and for which event you are making the purchase (ie short runs, medium runs, long runs etc). Also, they should also OBSERVE you running in shoes they recommend, to observe stride efficiency as well as any pronation problems which you may have. See following website:http://www.steenwyk.com/pronsup.htm
And yes, just like in skiing, if you are ever are going to be serious about your running, get "running" orthotics. The skiing ones don't work for running. At this time, if you are not sure how "into" running you are going to get, purchase a pair of "superfeet" at the running store (stores which offer orthotics or carry superfeet is another indication of being a serious running store). The best way to be fitted with running orthotics is to go see a running orthopedic doctor (M.D.).
Socks, as Aleph Null mentioned, not cotton. Also there are socks which are very thin "double layered" polypro which help prevent the formation of blisters. Before each run, lathered your feet with vaseoline. On the west coast sun block is very important due to the dry atmosphere. As for water, a camel back is ideal but at least a water bottle carried on a belt would be the minimum. Ah, least I forget, a powerbar (or whichever energy bar you prefer) for every hour of every run. Very important. Some salted peanuts and hard rock candy for the last few miles, even during training and definitely for the marathon itself. Will either prevent hitting or gettiing you over the wall during the last 6 miles.
The final two weeks known as "tapering". That is the time to really enjoy yourself and bath in the rewards of a successful training program. Also, crossing the finish line and getting your hard earned finishers medal. Nothing can beat that. Almost like skiing, (I said ALMOST) a perfect run when you finally put the medal around your neck.
Finally, although I'm sure that "pain" has been mentioned (I've mentioned it), a "good" training program will either completely eliminated it or cut it down to a tolerable level. I wouldn't worry too much.
I started running 20 years ago as an adjunct to skiing i.e. something to do after winter and to keep in skiing shape. Now, I'm not sure which passion is secondary, skiing or running. Hope you maintain a regular running program even after you complete your marathon.